Voy Por Ustedes is likely to head straight for the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on December 26 after his pleasing seasonal debut in the intercasino.co.uk Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
Alan King’s Champion Chase runner-up made a bad blunder at the second-last but was not beaten far at the death and came home in fourth place.
The Grade Two event went the way of Knowhere, representing the Nigel Twiston-Davies and Paddy Brennan combination, who put his appetite for a battle to good use by overhauling Exotic Dancer on the run-in for a length success.
King said: “I am happy with that and he will definitely go to the King George, which will probably be his next race.”
Coral trimmed Voy Por Ustedes into 4-1 from 5s for the King George, while Exotic Dancer earned a 20-1 quote from the sponsors for the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Brennan said of the 8-1 winner: “He is such a brilliant servant to the yard, he never gives in and we will try and win the Hennessy now.”
King was on target when Squadron paid Champion Hurdle hope Crack Away Jack a handsome compliment with an 18-length win in the intercasino.co.uk Four Year Old Hurdle.
The 5-2 chance was easily brushed aside by the latter at Chepstow last time out, and Ladbrokes responded to Squadron’s Aintree success by trimming Emma Lavelle’s Festival winner into 7-1 form 10s for the hurdling championship.
Robert Thornton appeared to have the measure of 2-5 favourite Pierrot Lunaire when he took a tired fall at the final flight, leaving Squadron to come home in his own time.
King said: “We bumped into a very good horse at Chepstow and I felt my only chance of beating the favourite today was fitness.
“He is a progressive horse and I might put him in the Greatwood Hurdle now.”
Coral Cup second Kicks For Free got his fencing career off to the best possible start with a bloodless win as the 4-6 favourite in the intercasino.co.uk Novices’ Chase.
Trainer Paul Nicholls said: “The new two-and-a-half-mile novice chase here at the Grand National meeting will be ideal for him.
“Tidal Bay won this race last year and went on to win the Arkle. He will have an entry in that but the trip might be too short.”
Stan James trimmed him to 10-1 for the two-mile Cheltenham event, with William Hill offering 14s.
Massasoit proved his worth to Nicholls when lowering the colours of On Raglan Road in the EBF Lexus Liverpool “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
Turned out for the first time in 351 days, the 6-1 chance crept into contention under and after tackling the 11-10 favourite entering the home stretch, he pulled away for a smart eight-length success.
Nicholls said: “He will stay as far as you want him to but he does like the ground very soft.”